Huey Returns

Huey was trapped between the burden of responsibility for an organism that had created him more than he had created it, as he told me so often, and the irresponsible ease of floating inside a world of angry men which he at once understood and detested.

Elaine brought Huey back to America when she felt he was more likely to win the trial that had chased him away three years ago. Soon however, the party's leader fell under harsher strain than the trial; Huey had been to many people a legendary figure, prepared to lead America and blacks to freedom, and in the process they formed a less than human image of Huey Newton. When Huey returned to America he was simply fed up with the expectations and lost his focus. He returned to cocaine, and spent nights drinking. The structure Elaine had built up began to be shaken down.

There was one result of all this I had failed to think through: I had introduced a number of women in the party's administration. There were too many women in command of the affairs of the Black Panther Party, numerous men were grumbling.

Elaine's enemies had latched on to the belief that Elaine was a "man-hating, lesbian, feminist bitch" very soon after she came into power, as she elevated many women up in the ranks. These voices were easily silenced by Elaine early on, but the resentment stayed underneath the surface party, only to break out with the return of Huey Newton. The return of "the boss" meant the 'comrades' no longer had to answer to Elaine, and Huey did not feel the strength to deny their expectations and reprimand the men when they did wrong.

"You just don't want to deal with the details. I'm here, as always. But I need you to put your foot on this rampant machoism - and that's all it is. …I'm not just talking about Regina. I'm talking about all the women. They're critical. And all of them are scared. … They'll run."

Things come to a head when Elaine learned that Regina Davis, a Black Panther Member who held the most responsibility for the Black Panther's school, had been beaten by a 'Comrade' for reprimanding him. She asked Huey to stop the men.

"Let [them] run, then. Let all of them run!"

Huey suggested a Central Committee meeting to discuss this problem, but Elaine believed the men would turn on her very quickly. Elaine took her daughter Ericka Brown and left the Black Panther Party, quickly, suddenly, and without a word to Huey. They fled to France.